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Customer Reviews

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

MFR # VM540ML

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Dual moving magnet phono cartridge with MicroLine® stylus

MFR # VM540ML

31 reviews
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Audio-Technica VM540ML

James from Cincinnati, OH on 10/24/2022

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Brought new life to my vinyl collection. Fidelity and separation are excellent!

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Excellent cartridge

Marius Daniel from PITTSFORD, NY on 10/6/2022

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I did quite some research before I decided to buy VM540, and I am more than happy with my choice. This is a great cartridge and stylus, which is even better than my Clearaudio Concept cartridge. I installed this cartridge on a different TT so that I can switch the equipment and make a "live" comparison with the same LP. Both turntables use a Project S2 preamp, and connected to a Vincent SV-237 MKII. VM540ML is as close as you can come to have a MC cartridge. I wish that Crutchfield would carry the Vincent equipment, which is an outstanding audio equipment. As always, Buying from Crutchfield is a great, pleasant experience.

Pros: as close as you can get to a MC cartridge, but more reasonable price.

Cons:

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Angela from Cincinnati, OH on 9/26/2022

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The sound is amazing! It makes my old crackling records sound new again. Very easy to install on my Teac 400. Worth the extra money.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Lee from Winston Salem, NC on 8/19/2022

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Sounds Fantastic on my Technics SL-1200mk5!

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Ramon from Carolina, PR on 7/29/2022

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It is a definite improvement over the 95ML, even on an Audio-Technica LP120XBT-USB turntable.

Pros: More soundstage depth Better instrument definition Better tracking

Cons: You have to install it yourself, unless you buy it with the headshell combo.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Fantastic Sound!

Brett from West Chester, PA on 7/19/2022

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I can't believe the difference this cartridge makes in sound quality. It is so much quieter and more precise than the Sumiko Ranier that came on my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO table. I'm thrilled with the results! The only reason I didn't give 5 stars is that the cartridge is significantly difficult to install as the screws are adjusted from the bottom and the nuts end up on top of the tone arm. I had to get assistance at a local record shop. At least the cartridge comes with the necessary tools, including a tiny screwdriver, that's needed for installation. But overall the extra trouble is well worth it for this superior cartridge.

Pros: - extremely quiet - great balance of bass and treble - rich, powerful sound that brings out every nuance of your records

Cons: - difficult to install

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

John from West Point, CA on 6/26/2022

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Perfect

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0 of 2 found this helpful

Worth it

Chris from Red Bluff, CA on 6/13/2022

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Up graded from the 95e cartridge . Reluctant to spend what I paid for my turntable but was worth it . A lot more detailed along with the Schmitt mani preamp it has brought my AT 120 to a new level. I thought I would use the VM on my audiophile records and switch to the 95e with the rough records but there is a difference in wt and tracking force has to be readjusted . Slight annoyance . I AB compared the 2 using a record I got at good will . Les Paul and Mary greatest hits from 1960. I was blown away at the detail. Vocal clarity and Les Paul's guitar tracks just blared through .

Pros: More detailed . Higher fidelity .

Cons: None

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Good upgrade

John from Powell, OH on 6/9/2022

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Sounds really good with Cambridge CXA81 and Triangle Borea BR08's. I replaced a Ortofon OM5E.

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Revelation

Cris from Homer, AK on 5/25/2022

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Wow, what a difference. I had the 95AE with the ML stylus. It sounded great, it was a total improvement over the stock AE stylus. A total worthy upgrade. But somehow i thought that the 540 was going to be an improvement. My hearing is totally screwed in my old age, my wife hears sounds of my puppies that I can't hear. Even then, when I installed the 540..oh my God, what a revelation. I can only imagine how much better it would be for someone with audiophile tuned ears. My decision making was constrained by 3 things: budget, compliance and weight. I was using it on an AT-LP120x, so there was a limit on what weight it could be, and the dynamic compliance was an issue . Otherwise the resonance would be a total detriment to the turntable. Very slim picking in those choices for that tonearm. I helped the TT a little by getting a Technics 1200 Magnesium headshell, that lowered the weight by 1 gram total, even though the 540 is heavier that's the 95AE. Then budget, not worth spending hundreds or thousands on that TT, but at 28db separation, the lowest weight and lowest compliance available for a good cartridge for a mid-weight tonearm, a naked square shank stylus and a great price..the solution kind of just presented itself..and it sounds great. What more can I say, very happy and worth every penny.

Pros: Weight Dynamic compliance for mid-weight tonearms. Sound Clarity Stylus design

Cons: About the only con would be that it's not threaded, but don't know if that would make it heavier.

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4 of 4 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Scott from Cedar Rapids, IA on 4/29/2022

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Great sounding replacement. Pretty easy to swap on the old cartridge.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Ocracoke

George from Ocracoke on 1/26/2022

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Even my wife, who seldom listens to my LPs, said this cartridge sounds much better than the factory supplied one that came with my Audio-Technica AT-LP120. The biggest hurdle I encountered was how to disassemble the cartridge from the supplied headshell. Otherwise, installation was quite straight forward. The difference in sound is very much improved and I agree with other reviews that the sound is richer with much clearer bass!

Pros: Excellent sound, much better than I expected.

Cons: A little tricky to unpack for installation in the factory supplied headshell.

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2 of 3 found this helpful

what a time

Crutchfield customer from Nashville, TN on 1/3/2022

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Mounting it was a nightmare. Took of the red mounting assembly off to install the main body. Mounted the main body on the tone arm. Pulled off the white wire off from the connector to the main body. Had to remove the body from the tone arm to have working space to solder the white wire back to the connector. Then reinstalled the main body and the red part with the styles. Had no sound !!! took an hour to figure out that I did not snap down the red part until it clicked. After all of that and a few hours of frustration all is well. All the necessary mounting hardware was included with the shipment. Surprised how quickly the product was delivered from Crutchfield.

Pros: The instructions were a little misleading. the instructions were not clear as to removing the styles plastic protector.

Cons:

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2 of 6 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Standish, ME on 12/25/2021

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Great sound. Perfect upgrade for TT

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3 of 5 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Raleigh, NC on 12/14/2021

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Easy to install, just four wires and a couple of screws. Made some scratchy records sound brand new -- no pops or hisses. The inner track (closest to the label) sounded vibrant. And all tracks had a deeper, richer sound. Crutchfield had it at my door in 48 hours.

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4 of 4 found this helpful

Massive improvement

Crutchfield customer from Northport, NY on 9/20/2021

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This cart uch a massive improvement in clarity, inner groove distortion and musicality over the Ortofon 2M Red that came with my Project Debut Carbon, I wish I had upgraded years ago.

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6 of 6 found this helpful

Audio Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Parrish, FL on 9/17/2021

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This Audio Technica cartridge sounds ok with my old Paradigm & B&W speakers. It's going to sound much better when I receive & hookup my new Harbeth M30.2 XD's.

Pros: Great cartridge for the money, my old Paradigm & B&W speakers do not do justice for this cartridge. However, that will change quickly after I receive my Harbeth M30.2 XD speakers.

Cons: No complaints, cartridge pairs well with my Rega P3 turntable.

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Great for the money.

Crutchfield customer from Leominster, MA on 8/31/2021

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5 Stars for the price. Not 5 compared to 2k ones. I had a Hana SH, a $750.00 cartridge. I think this is better. Maybe just a better match for my system. Shibata stylus on the Hana is supposed to be hard to setup but I think I had it dialed in. Microline on the VM540Ml is a more advanced stylus also.

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4 of 4 found this helpful

Outstanding cartridge

Crutchfield customer from Barto, PA on 5/18/2021

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This cartridge sounds amazing. I have it mounted to an old Fisher turntable running through a Creek amp to Paradigm Tribute speakers. The speakers I have use beryllium tweeters that are VERY revealing. I was concerned about using this cartridge with my speakers because I saw some reviews stating that AT cartridges tend to sound bright, however, I do not feel it sounds bright. The highs are very crisp and clean. I hear absolutely no signs of inner grove distortion or sibilance which my speakers would definitely make you aware of if it was there. The bass is tight and authoritative. The image (soundstage) is realistic, in fact depending how good the recording is my speakers disappear. One amazing recording that exhibits this is a 180 gram Grateful Dead recording. If you are looking for a well-made cartridge that will make your best recordings sound amazing, this is a great cartridge to purchase!

Pros: Imaging, Bass, Treble, Midrange...

Cons: None at this price

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0 of 1 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Cleveland, OH on 1/30/2021

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Nice upgrade from the 440mlb. Same stylus as the 740 minus the aluminum body.

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3 of 3 found this helpful

Homely looks, beautiful sound, great value.

Crutchfield customer from Kernersville, NC on 11/12/2020

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Back in the 1980s when I got my first budget audiophile turntable (Harman-Kardon T60C), I had a Bang & Olufsen MMC2 cartridge installed on it, considered one of the best sounding moving-magnet cartridges ever made, and it spoiled me. Ever since that one went belly-up I've been trying to get a taste of that sound without spending thousands, with no luck. Grado, Ortofon, Sumiko - nope. Nothing reproduced the shimmering highs, growling bass, and lively detail that the B&O did - until I installed this cartridge on the old turntable. Some may find this cartridge a bit bright for their tastes, but I find it to be an excellent match to my Polk RTi-A9s and pretty even across the frequency spectrum. I no longer have to strain to hear the cymbals, triangles, and brushes on the high hats, or the ground-shaking organ pedal notes. And the realism in the midrange is outstanding, too, revealing the texture of the instruments and how they're being played - I swear I can hear Leo Kottke's fingers on the guitar strings. I won't bore you with the details about tracking (superb), noise floor (silent), inner-groove distortion (none). If the Ortofon 2Ms and OMs are Gene Kelly (technically perfect but lacking in feeling), this A-T is Fred Astaire. Could I do better in this price range? Maybe, but probably not with my need for a medium-to-high-compliance cartridge for my lightweight tonearm.

Pros: Superb, balanced, detailed, full-frequency sound. Great tracking, no distortion. Very good value for the features. Easy alignment with the flat front, and not critically sensitive to vertical tracking angle. Comes with multiple lengths of mounting screws, screwdriver, and soft stylus cleaning brush.

Cons: Not the prettiest cartridge. Stylus tip recessed under the body is hard to see for cueing, cleaning, and placement for installation and alignment.

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10 of 10 found this helpful

Killer cartridge!

Crutchfield customer from Rixeyville, VA on 9/8/2020

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Very nice upgrade for my Fluance RT81. Sounds magnificent.

Pros: Fairly easy set up on Fluance RT81

Cons: None

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Ernest from Dallas, TX on 6/23/2020

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I was considering upgrading my turntable (Fluance RT81 with The AT95E stylusd), but decided to hold off for now and bought the AT VN540ML. I noticed the difference as soon as the needle hit the record! I listen to a variety of music from Sly to classical; Tom Misch to Coletrane and this needle delivers. Sound is crystal clear and I'm hearings sounds I haven't previously heard. While the AT95 wasn't no slouch, upgrading to this stylus vast improvement. Installment was easy as was balancing. Thoroughly satisfied.

Pros: The sound, setup

Cons: None

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4 of 5 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Jim Thorpe, PA on 6/14/2020

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An incredible upgrade to my system!

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Eastchester, NY on 2/9/2020

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Extremely happy with this purchase. Quality and depth of sound, especially on my newer vinyl is superb. Thinking of buying another for my Oracle turntable.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Bargain at the price

Ken from Auburn, CA on 12/12/2018

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I currently use several different turntables. This is the first Audio-Technica I have ever used. I wanted a moderately priced cartridge to put in the turntable I use to audition newly acquired vinyl which mostly comes from thrift stores and garage sales and from the $2.00 bins in record stores, with the occasional nicer piece of used vinyl. I do this to spare my more expensive cartridges from the first go around of digging out fifty to sixty years worth of who-knows-what-kind-of-gunk that may still be in the grooves even after cleaning the record. I am pleasantly surprised. This cartridge compares quite favorably with the $500 low output moving coil cartridge it replaced, especially in extracting detail. I don't notice any difference in bass or tracking ability. Worth the money.

Pros: Punches way above its weight class

Cons: none

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11 of 11 found this helpful

VM540ML

Larry from Washington, MI on 6/8/2018

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I have always used Audio Technica products. I resurrected my old Sony PS-3300 and installed this cartridge using a mirrored protractor and digital stylus force gage.. It's great and Crutchfield is the best.

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1 of 2 found this helpful

Outstanding cartridge.

Paul from San Francisco, CA on 1/29/2018

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I bought this marvelous cartridge together with an Audio-Technica VM610 MONO (aaah...the beauty of having an older turntable with changeable head shells!). Having considered the switch from an old Stanton 680EE (and scoping out just about everything else from Ortofon, Shure, Sumiko, etc.) I liked what Audio-Technica was offering with their new line and had had some experience with their cartridges in the past. I made the right choice. This cartridge sounds amazing (and I listen to all types of music). The bass is full but taut. Highs are crystal clear but not too shrill. Channel separation is excellent, and inner groove distortion is miraculously absent (at an even 2 grams, no less). That said, you will most definitely have to take the time to align and experiment with the VTA on this cartridge to reap it's benefits. In that regard, I found that making the tone arm parallel to the record was not best to my ears. (Listen to your ears and forget what you read or see on the internet with regards to VTA, folks.) I used a very thin (.038 inches, to be exact) aluminum shim between the cart and head shell and a carbon fibre slip mat on top of the stock rubber mat on my Phillips AF 777 turntable. Depending on how thick or thin any given record is, my tone arm is pitching ever-so-slightly downward and I am very pleased with the results. A great price and the usual excellent service from Crutchfield made this an excellent upgrade. Cheers!

Pros: Lovely sound.

Cons: Not really a "con", but it helps if you know what you're doing with the set up.

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6 of 6 found this helpful

Great for dogs!

Andy from Cuyahoga Falls, OH on 1/29/2018

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I am reviewing the VM540ML in comparison to the Audio Technica AT120EB cartridge. I wanted to step up from the AT120EB, not so much out of dissatisfaction, but out of curiosity. The AT120EB is a great cartridge, and reproduces all genres of music capably. The VM540ML is an extremely bright cartridge in comparison to the AT120EB. It's as if there is a shelf-like boost to all frequencies above 14kHz. Also, it seems less "3-Dimensional" than the 120EB. (I HATE subjective terms like that - but it's the only way I can describe it.) I can't really recommend this cartridge, unless you have an audio system that is lacking in high frequencies!

Pros: Wide frequency range, good stereo separation, tracks really well, low inner grove distortion

Cons: VERY bright

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6 of 13 found this helpful

Crisp Highs

Jeff from Princeton, WV on 11/15/2017

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Extended highs and good tracking with this AT cartridge.

Pros: extended highs and microline stylus.

Cons: Screws that came with the cartridge didn't fit my rega headshell had to use different ones. Dated look.

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1 of 7 found this helpful

Audio-Technica VM540ML

Crutchfield customer from Michigan on 8/11/2017

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Awesome upgrade cartridge - this one really delivers amazing sound, but it does requires that you accurately align the cartridge and set VTA.

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5 of 7 found this helpful

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